Kew Case Study
Mike Saunders, Director of Digital Media, Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew
To celebrate its 250th anniversary in 2009, Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew planned to re-launch its website to promote its work in plant science research and its leadership as a plant conservation organisation. ECS became the development and implementation partner for Kew and was selected to implement Oracle UCM platform and develop the new website.
A priority of the project was to deliver a microsite in less than 3 months. ECS worked closely with the client and third parties involved in the project to meet the tight deadline and introduce the web publishing mechanisms which would later be the foundation of the main website. After the success of the microsite in May 2009, the project team continued developing the website ready for launch in October 2009. The finished website (www.kew.org) resulted as a modern, engaging and web-2.0 solution. Highlights include interactive Garden Map and the Science & Conservation Global Map. Kew uses the ECS Calendar solution and has further plans to develop its content management strategy across the organisation.
In addition to the website achievements, ECS also created a back-end management system for schools visiting Kew Gardens. Previously the process was for schools to phone in bookings and for Kew staff to manually process payments, scheduling and confirmations. The newly built Schools Booking system provided online booking and scheduling for teachers to easily view availability for school visits. It also provided a system for Kew staff to manage the bookings.
The website is updated daily by Kew staff and the site has attracted public participation with new features such as commenting on the site, adding photos, “liking” content and easily sharing on social networking websites. The Schools Booking system immediately proved its value in gained efficiencies by ensuring payments, school bookings and teacher scheduling were managed correctly and easily. The system saves hours of Kew staff time each week and it provides instant reporting on booking statuses.